Almost Half of Rural Indian Women Have Not Heard of HIV/AIDS, Report Says
About 46% of women living in rural areas of India have not heard of HIV/AIDS, according to a recently released report from the Indian government's National Family Health Survey, which is supported by UNICEF and the British and U.S. governments, Reuters reports. According to the report, 57% of women nationwide have heard of the disease, compared with 80% of men. The Indian government has focused its HIV/AIDS prevention efforts on high-risk groups, such as commercial sex workers and injection drug users, rather than on the general population, according to Reuters. An unnamed government official said that the government is "expanding prevention efforts among the general population in rural areas, especially women, over the next five years." Anjali Gopalan -- head of the HIV/AIDS advocacy group Naz Foundation India -- said the report "shows women don't have access to information, translating into more women getting infected." According to Reuters, women account for 40% of HIV cases in the country. Many women in rural areas contract the virus from their husbands, who travel to cities and visit commercial sex workers, Reuters reports. HIV/AIDS advocates are urging the government to train health workers and send them to rural areas in an effort to educate rural women about the virus (Zaheer, Reuters, 2/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.